One Easy Trick for a More Productive Day

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Hello, SparkPeople Members!

First, thanks a bunch for all of the great comments about my chickens last week! I thought this would be a fun way to share part of the healthy lifestyle we're trying to lead, thanks to my wife who initiated this project. Hopefully this sparks you to keep searching for healthy habits one at a time to fit into your lifestyle (since I know not many people will be able to raise chickens). As a quick update, I'm happy to announce that Snoozy laid her first egg this week! She is our most timid chicken of the flock. This already seems to be giving her more confidence to stand up for herself, which is important because she's at the bottom of the pecking order and can get picked on. 

Plan to Plan (SparkTime!)

Today I want to share what I believe is one of the best ways to reach any goal: developing a simple planning system that works for you to increase your organizational skills. I KNOW this sounds boring (I can hear some groans). But a major point about doing the right "boring" tasks consistently is that it really can change your life.

One reason I'm sharing this today is that I hit a fun milestone this week as a result of more dedication to my own planning system. I crossed 100 days for my streak of spinning the SparkPoints login wheel -- WooHoo! This may be the longest login streak I've had. In the past, I have been on the site just about every day interacting with members and tracking my goals, but sometimes I would forget to spin the wheel and would lose my streak. This streak is now meaningful to me because it's a daily visual reminder of my commitment to both planning and reaching my goals.

What was different this time? It's simple. About 3-4 months ago, I got very serious about my daily planning -- especially setting aside time in the morning as a "plan to plan" session I call "SparkTime". There are many types of strategies for planning, but I use a simple spreadsheet and set up a template with daily tasks broken into 5 categories or columns. Then I follow this simple process each day:

1) Each morning, I copy the template into a new section for that day and add priorities for the day like work projects I need to complete
2) I have a section in the spreadsheet called "Priority Goals" where I put the next few tasks I want to do
3) When completed, I move that task to the completed section
4) I have a notes section where I make notes about anything that happens that day

My "tasks" can be incredibly small. Examples include:
* Spin the SparkPoints Wheel
* Work on X project at work (like writing this email!)
* Eat breakfast (otherwise I forget)
* Do at least 10 minutes of fitness (in the morning, if possible)

This simple process keeps me on track and almost acts as a coach. When I move a task to the completed section, this is like a small reward. Seeing tasks on this list keeps me accountable.

This way, my mind doesn't get cluttered with a bunch of details, and I'm free to do more thinking about bigger projects like fun new enhancements we're working on for the site and apps.

Are you ready to give this a try? Here's a friendly challenge: can you build a SparkPoints login streak that represents your desire to reach goals?


Click to my blog to see a sample of the spreadsheet I use for planning to make this easier to visualize. Also, feel free to share fun ways you keep track of your daily planning!

If you want more motivation about the power of consistency, take a look at my free new Mini-Book if you haven't seen it yet.


I got Paul from our engineering team to add our "Get Your SparkPoints" button to this email. Now, each week, you can click the SparkPoints button below and receive 3 points. Or, just click this link now to test this out and help me set a new record for clicks from this email -- thanks for your support!

Weekly Check-In

Check-in time! Click to this blog and share any small steps you took to reach your goals the prior week OR a goal you have for the upcoming week.

Have a great week everyone!



Chris (SparkGuy)